How to Choose the Right Outdoor Furniture for Your Home

Outdoor Furniture

Whether you’re looking for a contemporary lounge set or a traditional dining table, there are plenty of options online. Some stores sell curated furniture sets while others have pieces sold a la carte.

Many outdoor furniture materials will show signs of wear and tear over time, but they can be rejuvenated with simple care. Learn how to choose the best outdoor furniture for your needs and keep it looking new season after season.


The type of material used in outdoor furniture can have a significant impact on its durability and usability. For example, metal furniture may be rust-resistant or even waterproof, but it can also be heavy and difficult to move around and can become hot to the touch in the sun. Similarly, wood furniture can be attractive but also prone to rotting or insect damage. Some natural materials, like rattan and teak, require frequent cleaning to prevent mildew or mold, while others, such as cypress and eastern red cedar, resist moisture and pests.

In addition, the type of fabric a piece of furniture is made from can also have an impact on its durability. For example, Sunbrella fabrics are popular because they’re water-resistant, mildew-resistant, and fade-resistant. Other fabrics, such as olefin, polyester, and nylon, are also available, but they’re less durable and don’t hold up well in extreme weather conditions.

Some materials are prone to warping as they expand and contract with changes in temperature, which can cause them to crack or break. Others can be damaged by exposure to sunlight, which can cause them to lose their luster or develop an unsightly patina over time.

Other important factors to consider when choosing a material for your outdoor furniture include the maintenance requirements and the weather where you live. If you live in an area with a lot of rainfall, you’ll want to choose a material that can withstand wet weather, including rain and hail. Also, if you live in an area with strong winds, it’s best to go for heavier pieces that won’t be easily blown over or damaged by harsh weather.

Other materials commonly used in outdoor furniture include wood, wicker, metal, and plastic. For wood, cypress and eastern red cedar are popular choices because of their resistance to moisture damage. However, pine can also be a good option if it is pressure-treated. Wicker is usually made from either natural rattan or synthetic resin. For the latter, always look for high-density polyethylene wicker, as low-quality PVC can unravel and deteriorate quickly. Plastic is another common material for outdoor furniture and comes in a variety of colors and textures, with some styles being designed to resemble rattan and other natural materials.


If you want your patio to feel like a separate room in your home, consider the style of furniture you use. A wrought iron dining set and lounge chairs create an elegant, English garden look that will stand up well to the elements. Wrought iron is also very durable, often lasting for decades. It is also easy to clean, requiring only warm soapy water and the occasional brush to reach hard-to-reach spaces.

For a more casual outdoor design, look to wicker and rattan styles. The natural, textured weaves give these pieces a relaxed vibe that’s perfect for a backyard retreat. To keep the look cohesive, coordinate seat cushions and decor in the same color palette. A golden yellow outdoor sofa, chairs and coffee table pair nicely with matching accent pillows and a table runner or flower vase in the same hue.

Another great choice for outdoor seating is teak, which has natural all-weather capabilities. Its oil content prevents rot and dryness, and it takes on a nice silvery patina over time. Teak is also very strong and will hold up to heavy use. If you choose teak, be sure to protect it from moisture with weather-resistant cushions and wood sealant.

Other options include aluminum, wrought iron and steel. Aluminum is lightweight and easy to move, but it can rust if not treated properly. Wrought iron is very sturdy and can last for decades, but it’s the heaviest option. If you plan to leave your wrought iron outdoor furniture in place for the long term, make sure it’s galvanized or stainless steel to avoid corrosion.

Minimalists will find that there are many outdoor furniture designs that can work for them. The sleek lines, monochromatic colors and smaller footprints of minimalist furniture are ideal for small spaces or colorful gardens. To unify the look, incorporate fabrics that are fade-resistant and stain-resistant to reduce wear from pollen or other environmental elements. Vinyl is an especially popular choice for outdoor cushions because it resists dirt and stains easily, and can be wiped clean with a damp cloth or vacuumed.


The level of comfort offered by outdoor furniture is one of the most important considerations for those who plan to use the furniture regularly. Look for cushions that are thick and durable. If you have an old set of cushions that have seen better days, replacing them is an easy and inexpensive way to improve the comfort level of your outdoor furniture. Look for fabrics that are designed specifically for outdoor use so they can withstand moisture, harsh sun exposure and stains.

Whether your outdoor space is an oasis for relaxation or the perfect spot to entertain, the right furniture can make all the difference. The best outdoor furniture options will provide comfort while also complementing the aesthetic of your home and reflecting your personal style. With so many options available, choosing the right outdoor furniture can be overwhelming, but taking the time to consider these factors will help you choose furniture that will be comfortable and durable for years to come.

If you are in the market for a new set of outdoor furniture, be sure to visit your local showroom to try out different styles and materials to find the pieces that will be the most comfortable. Many showrooms also offer a variety of accessories to add to your furniture, such as throw pillows and outdoor rugs. You can even find outdoor curtains that will help block out unwanted sunlight.

While you are there, take the time to inspect your furniture for signs of wear and tear that may require maintenance or repair. If you notice any damage, now is a good time to purchase replacement parts and touch up paint or staining before the weather turns. You should also consider storing your furniture in a covered area or using a patio cover when it is not in use to protect it from the elements and prolong its lifespan. This is especially important for upholstered furniture, which can be difficult to store properly.


While outdoor furniture is designed to withstand the elements, that doesn’t mean it can’t be subjected to damage from dust, dirt, mold and insects. It’s important to keep up with maintenance requirements, especially before and after a harsh weather event.

For example, marine or coastal areas experience salt spray and sand which act as a sort of sand blaster on fine finishes. This can cause scratches, dullness and other cosmetic damage. It’s important to refinish these pieces frequently in order to preserve and protect them.

Natural woods like teak and cypress withstand the elements fairly well, but they’re still susceptible to rotting, insect burrowing, rusting and discoloration. It’s recommended to use a high-quality sealant to help prevent these problems. Wooden wicker also requires regular staining, but this can be less frequent than the staining of wooden furniture.

Resin and recycled plastic outdoor furniture are surprisingly durable and require minimal maintenance. These materials can be made to resemble wood, rattan and even stone. They’re resistant to moisture, stains, mildew and other common issues that come with spending time outdoors. Resin and plastic can be wiped down with a garden hose to easily remove dirt and other debris.

Other durable and low-maintenance materials include aluminum, wrought iron and steel. These can be cleaned with a mild soap and water solution, then protected with a coat of clear or black gloss acrylic finish. For metals that are prone to rusting, a coating of clear polish may be applied between cleanings.

Most woven wicker furniture is easy to maintain. You can use a soft brush or duster to remove surface dirt, and most can be vacuumed without a negative impact. It’s important to clean and protect wicker furniture with stain guard and fabric protector, as these will help keep it looking new.

All upholstered furniture should be cleaned regularly to avoid the growth of mold, mildew and other bacteria. If your cushions are made from a synthetic material, they will be resistant to these, but if they’re not, it’s a good idea to use a fabric protector. It’s also a good idea to wash all cushions and covers when not in use, and to store them at the end of the season in a cool, dry place (or under a tarp or furniture cover).